Navan runner-up C’est Jersey may be the horse to beat in here but Woods Well will hopefully give him a race. This will be the first time I have ridden him in a race but he looks a fair prospect, winning his bumper well in November and then finishing a good second to an improving horse at Cork on his hurdling debut. The step up to 2m4f should suit, and he is capable of going close.
This looks a very competitive maiden hurdle but my mount shouldn’t be that far away if she takes to hurdles. She improved with experience in bumpers and was pretty impressive when winning by 7 lengths at Limerick last time. I schooled her recently, and she jumps well, but I imagine we all have Toe The Line to beat here.
He jumped well in the main when he won for me at Wexford last time, even if he was a bit novicey at one or two. That win came over 2m2f but he shapes as though he wants a trip, so the step up to 3m will hopefully suit him. I think he is on a fair enough mark, too, if not too generous, and he is less exposed than some of these.
Balko Des Flos
Arbre De Vie was a very smart hurdler at his best, so he will prove a difficult horse to beat if he takes as well to fences – though he probably didn’t when he was second at odds-on in a Beginners Chase at Thurles last January – but Balko Des Flos shouldn’t be underestimated. He was a fair bumper horse and hurdler, too, and he shaped well when second to Bellshill on his chasing debut at Gowran over 2m4f. The slightly longer trip should suit him, and you would hope that he would have learned a lot from his first start over fences.
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Happy New Year